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Constructing Dynastic Franciscan Identities in Bohemia and the Polish Duchies

Day, Kirsty Ann (2015) Constructing Dynastic Franciscan Identities in Bohemia and the Polish Duchies. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the construction of female Franciscan dynastic identities in Bohemia and the Polish duchies in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. In Franciscan studies, the evidence produced on Franciscan nuns is still treated as marginal to our understanding of the order. Histories of nuns within the order are still based on anachronistic hagiographic chronologies, which promote teleologic metanarratives that portray the experiences of the hagiographic Francis of Assisi as the norm. This androcentric bias is matched by the neglect of evidence associated with non- western-European subjects. This has occurred in part because hagiography-driven histories promote the friar who begs in Italian town squares as the default Franciscan identity, and in part because of the twentieth-century political division of Europe into a West and an East. The case studies examined in this thesis — communities of nuns that were located in Prague, Zawichost, Wrocław, Stary Sącz, and Gniezno — were not only female and Central European, they were also linked closely with the Bohemian and Polish Přemyslid and Piast dynasties. My thesis breaks down the metanarratives that have excluded Central-European nuns from the order’s history, and explains how and why the Franciscan and dynastic penitential models came together in this geographical region at this point in time. The Franciscan penitential model promoted an uncompromising renunciation of the world that would seem to have excluded the participation of ruling dynasties. However, it also encouraged people such as the Přemyslids and Piasts, in whole or part, to exchange their earthly for heavenly goods, and thus created strong links between ruling dynasties and the Franciscan order. When examined using a methodology based on sociological models of gift exchange, as opposed to one which emphasises linear progression, the evidence for my case-study communities emerges as central, not peripheral, to our understanding of the Franciscan order as a penitential movement created to save all souls.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Dynastic, Franciscan, Central Europe, Nuns, Women's History, gift exchange, renunciation, hagiography, religious orders, medieval history
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Kirsty Day
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 10:46
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2016 10:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12232

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